Monday, September 10, 2007

Our weekend

On the train now back to the office in Rotterdam, after a week away. I missed my train this morning as I had to queue up behind a group of Swedish Protestants on their way to Veenendaal who wanted to buy their tickets one-by-one. I had to buy my ticket at the counter because my debit card isn’t working as the magnetism on the back of the card does not work anymore, apparently it reacts badly to being in the vicinity of a mobile phone. I phoned the bank for a new one and they promised I would have it within a week. It is more than a week now, so I can blame the bank for getting to work late. Not an especially good start to the week, but never mind.

It is grey and wettish outside and we are still waiting for our Indian summer, which we may or may not get at the end of the week. A high ridge over the UK is giving them decent weather but is bringing is cool wet air from the North Sea.

We had a good weekend, all in all. Friday, after the journey back from Paris, it was straight to the Club Avond at Spargo. Saturday late up to find out that the party in Groningen was starting at 4 in the afternoon, rather than later in the evening, so off we went to catch the train up there, a journey taking 2 hours 40 minutes, a good deal more than the same journey would have taken 80 years ago. The party was to celebrate the 25th anniversary for a couple of friends of ours from Groningen and was great fun. Excellent Spanish food with paella and various tapas, washed down with beer from the tap in the garden.

Again late up on Sunday, a breakfast at the Croissanterie on the Grote Markt, where we always used to come. The brie and onion salad baguettes were still good, but the coffee was terrible,a s was the service, so maybe it will also be the last time we go there. The journey back was a half hour shorter than the journey to Groningen due to better connections, so we were home by 3, enough time to enjoy some of the open air events in Amsterdam. Locally, we had the Rode Loper festival, the highlight of which was a display of Turkish oil wrestling on some specially laid down grass in front of the Tropenmuseum. The aim of the wrestling is to get your opponent with his back on the grass and his tummy facing up, while the oil on their bodies and leather shorts make it ery difficult to grab hold of one’s opponents. Intriguing.

After, this I cycled over to the Homominument which was celebrating its 20th anniversary with a discussion about how to deal with increased aggression and intolerance towards gay people in Amsterdam. I was surprised to hear that schools can not be forced to allow people from the COC (Dutch gay rights group) into the schools to give presentations on various aspects of homosexuality. Given that 60% of the children in Amsterdam schools come from ethnic minority backgrounds where, often, acceptance of homosexuality is hindered by religious ideas, I would have thought that this would be a good place to start.

Back home, we ate the osso buco which Fred had made, on the balcony, both of us wearing jumpers, so we can still have a little bit of the feeling that it is summer, finishing off the evening with watching our Almodovar DVD of Live Flesh. Very sexy and quite thrilling!

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